Arts & Culture

Jewish Punks Unite

By Michael Croland

To commence each show on the Eight Crazy Nights tour, a flame was colored in above the menorah drawn on a bass drum. The drum set was then shared by three Jewish-oriented punk bands that joined forces to celebrate Hanukkah in West Coast punk venues. The tour featured a magical world where Manischewitz wine flows like water, a limitless supply of bagels is available for noshing and throwing, and yarmulkes are worn just for fun.Read More

Double Vision

By Gabriel Sanders

Sometimes, when the traditional tools of the trade just don’t cut it, a scholar is forced to get creative. In the closing pages of “Freud’s Moses,” a 1991 study of Freud’s relationship with his Judaism, historian Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, fearful that traditional scholarly methods had not gotten him the answers he was after, brings back his subject from the dead and interrogates him face to face. Tell me, he says to his wordless interlocutor — “I promise I won’t reveal your answer to anyone” — did you ultimately believe psychoanalysis to be a Jewish science?Read More

Rattling the Chains Of American Poetry

By David Kaufmann

In the late 1970s, when I was studying creative writing at a fancy Eastern college, I spent a good deal of my time worrying about “finding my voice.” Like most of my friends, I dreamed of achieving a sincere and brandable style, one that would blend authenticity and real-time insight with fashionable touches of surrealist whimsy.Read More

The Israel Philharmonic Turns 70

By Robert Hilferty

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is older than the State of Israel. It was the brainchild of famous Polish-born, Vienna-based violinist Bronislaw Huberman. A perspicacious virtuoso, Huberman persuaded about 75 musicians from major European orchestras to make a bee-line to Palestine. It wasn’t out of fear of impending danger; it was just a nice cultural idea that he had formulated in 1931, when he was more Zen than Zionist. But by the time of Hitler’s rise, it had become an urgent mission.Read More

Buenos Aires Blues

By Noga Tarnopolsky

‘Family Law,” Argentine filmmaker Daniel Burman’s latest offering, is a movie about lawyers, so almost by necessity the issue of secrets and lies predominates. Only here, the prevarications are of a domestic sort: Ariel Perelmen, a young professor of law, son of Bernardo Perelman, a Buenos Aires criminal attorney, keeps secrets from his wife, Sandra.Read More

One of Vilna’s Own Trains a Lens on the City

By Caroline Lagnado

‘As a young girl I took it for granted I would go to university and be a professional, that I would be an artist and a doctor!” exclaimed septuagenarian Mira Jedwabnik Van Doren. Though she’s at an age when most start slowing down, the Vilna-born artist seems to be doing anything but: She has just released “The World Was Ours,” an hour-long documentary on the four centuries of vibrant Jewish life that existed in Vilna before the Holocaust.Read More

Seeking Compensation for Tragedy

By Brigitte Sion

Since 1952, more than 500,000 Jewish victims of Nazism have received compensation from Germany. As imperfect as the term “compensation” sounds in this case, no payment ever would have been made to survivors without the relentless and dedicated efforts of the Claims Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, commonly known as the Claims Conference. Everything relating to the Conference is exceptional, from its creation to its mode of operation, from the duration of its action to the legal precedents it set in international law.Read More

A Magazine for the Far-flung

By Nathaniel Popper

Some Jews arrive in Israel and discover it is their homeland. Other Jews get there only to realize that, after all that, “home” is the place they just left.Read More

Sunrise? Sunset?

By Lisa Keys

Jewish culture in Miami Beach: a faded memory, or something that is alive and kicking, though occasionally interrupted by bursts of absurdity? Two new programs — one upcoming on PBS, the other in constant reruns on VH1 — offer opposing views of the state of Yiddishkeit in south Florida’s glitziest strip of sand.Read More

A Textured Trilogy of Ghetto Life

By Joshua Cohen

The Holocaust didn’t annihilate Judaism or the Jewish people or its languages or their literatures, but it did cause all this to become if not reinvented, then greatly rethought. The most modern or revised of this rethinking holds that the most necessary works of art created about such disasters as war or genocide must themselves internalize that disaster, make it not only subject but also style: imbuing the very flesh of the text or canvas, marble or musical score with all the scars and the wounds; literally representing its images in the exorcism of words that have become almost horrifically too familiar by now — words such as gas, trains, ovens and ghetto.Read More

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